Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sharia vs. the tea pot

A Malaysian woman has been jailed for two years for belonging to a cult that worships a giant tea pot.

From the Telegraph (UK):
Kamariah Ali, a 57 year old former teacher, was arrested in 2005 when the government of the Muslim majority country demolished the two storey high sacred tea pot and other infrastructure of the "heretical" Sky Kingdom cult.

For the eccentric sect, which emphasised ecumenical dialogue between religions, the tea pot symbolized the purity of water and "love pouring from heaven".

But in Malaysia, despite constitutional guarantees of freedom of worship, born Muslims such as Mrs Ali are forbidden from converting to other religions.

Passing sentence, the Sharia judge Mohammed Abdullah said: "The court is not convinced that the accused has repented and is willing to abandon any teachings contrary to Islam. I pray God will open the doors of your heart, Kamariah."

Mrs Ali has already been jailed once for apostasy, for 20 months in 1992.

"This has to stop. They can’t be sending her again and again to prison for this," her lawyer, Sa'adiah Din, told reporters.

"She informed the court that she is not a Muslim. She doesn't come under Sharia court anymore."

AsiaNews adds more details on the teapot cult:
Born in the mid ‘80’s, the community grew outside state control until 1998, when its followers set up a Disneyland style games park – with buildings in the form of umbrellas, colourful boats, Greek and roman columns – at the centre of which they placed a gigantic teapot and equally massive blue vase. By this means they began proselytising among villagers and foreigners.

In August of 2005, Islamic fundamentalists destroyed their deity and the structures where they gathered.

Can't we all discuss this civilly over a cup of...oh, sorry, didn't mean to offend.